|Bob Hastings (1974, first few weeks)|
Jack Clark (1974–1975)
|Odyssey Productions (early 1974)|
Fishman-Freer Productions (1974–1975)
|Les Wallwork and Associates (early 1974)|
Columbia Pictures Television (1974–1975)
OPENING #1: "And now, from the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, it's Dealer's Choice, with your favorite dealer, Bob Hastings/Jack Clark!"
OPENING #2: "And now, it's time to place your bets on America's favorite gambling show, Dealer's Choice, with your host, Jack Clark!"
Dealer's Choice was a short-lived gambling game show.
Contestants selected from the studio audience played a series of casino games. They were spotted 100 chips to start, and they could bet as much as wanted, up to the maximum bet in each game.
To start, one audience member came up on stage to reveal the names of the three contestants playing that day on a nine-space, slot machine-typed game board. The game board had nine slot machine symbols: Cherries, Star, Orange, Jackpot, Lemon, 7-11, Bell, Bar, and Grape. Three of the symbols had the three contestants name's behind them, while the others had a sad face hidden. He/she had four choices and for each contestant's name revealed, the audience member won $25; and if all three contestants' names were revealed, the audience member also won a prize in addition to $75. This practice stopped after the show moved to California and the three names were revealed one by one at the call of host Jack Clark.
Home Viewer ContestEdit
When Jack Clark took over the show, a new Home Viewer Contest was instituted. Each of the three chosen contestants drew a postcard to see who their home viewer partners were. The winner of that day's game also won a prize for that home viewer.
The game was played in four rounds.
The First Two RoundsEdit
In the first round, the contestants could bet up to 10 of their chips; in Round 2, the maximum bet was 25 chips.
Round 3: BlackjackEdit
In this round, standard casino blackjack rules applied. The idea was to get 21 or get as close to 21 without going over; going over was a bust. All 10s & face cards were worth 10, number cards were worth the number on the card, and aces were worth 1 or 11. 50 chips was the max bet, and all blackjacks paid off at 2:1 (instead of the usual 3:2). The dealer for this game was another randomly selected studio audience member who also had a home partner by drawing a postcard. Like normal casino dealers, the audience member dealer had to stand on 17 or more, and hit on 16 or less. Also the dealer won the players' chips that they bet should any of them lose by busting (going over 21) or by not beating the dealer. Each chip collected by the dealer was worth $1 to the dealer, and his/her home viewer partner received the same amount in a gift certificate. Beating all three players also won the audience member & his/her home partner a bonus prize. Towards the end of the run, instead of winning cash, the dealer (and home partner) won a prize worth the value of the chips they collected.
Round 4: Last ChanceEdit
This round was dubbed "The Last Chance Round" where, unlike the first three rounds, there were no max bets; so any player could go "all in". Also, the bets were written in secret. During the Bob Hastings era, the game was called "Last Chance", where five cards were revealed and totaled. In the home game (see below), this round was referred to as "Total Up".
Jane Nelson would ask a player to cut a deck of cards; they would then be drawn one at a time up to four or five, and as long as the card met positive conditions, the contestants won double their bets. The game ended when all four or five cards were drawn, or if a bad card was drawn. When the latter happened, the contestants who bet lost their bets. So to prevent this from happening, each contestant had an option to stop and keep their bets. If no bad card was drawn at all, the contestants kept their bets and added them to their scores.
- High/Low – The bad cards in this game were 7, 8, and 9. As long as cards lower than 7 or higher than 9 came up, the game continued up to a maximum of four or five cards. If a 7, 8, or 9 was drawn, the game was over.
- Ace/Face is Out – Aces and face cards were the bad ones. Players won their bets each time any number card was drawn.
- Any Pair Loses – So called because if any two cards matched, any players who were still playing lost.
- In Between – The bad cards here were 2, Kings, and Aces. Everything else was good.
These games used a machine that mixed up ping-pong balls marked with numbers (usually 1, 2 & 3), and how many of each of those numbers determined the odds of winning the bet. It took 3, 4 or 5 of the same number (or combination of numbers) to end the game.
- Speculation – The players were faced with a "Stock Exchange Board" with three stocks. Each one had a different number of odds determined by the number of ping-pong balls representing each one (1:1 for Stock #1, 2:1 for Stock #2, and 5:1 for Stock #3). The contestants would bet on which stock would reach one point first. The hopper represented a "ticker-tape machine". For each ball drawn, the number on the one corresponding to that stock caused it to go up by 1/5 of a point. As soon as a stock reached the full point, the game ended and the contestant(s) who bet on that stock won his/her/their bet(s).
- Dealer's Derby – This was played in a horse racing format. There were three horses, each one with a set number of odds (1:1 for Horse #1, 3:1 for Horse #2, and 5:1 for Horse #3) The contestants would bet on which horse would reach the finish line first. For each one drawn, the number on the ball corresponding to one of the horses caused that horse to move one space (with five being the winning number of spaces). The contestant(s) who bet on the horse that finished first won his/her/their bet(s).
- Baseball – The players had to bet on either 4 hits or 3 Strikes coming up first.
- Bingo – The game was played on a 16-number grid, not the usual 25-square grid. The players had to bet which directional bingo would occur first; either horizontal (across), vertical (up & down) or diagonal. The diagonal paid higher odds since there were only two possibilities (the others had four). Numbers on the board were drawn one at a time and as soon a "bingo" was made, the game ended; and the player(s) who bet on the right direction won his/her/their bet(s).
Wheel of ChanceEdit
The Wheel of Chance was calibrated with various symbols or casino terms each with different odds (1:1, 3:1, 5:1, and occasionally 11:1). The contestants each bet on which symbol or name they thought that the wheel would stop on, and correct predictions won the bet times the set odds.
The player with the most chips won the game, and a chance to roll the Bonus Dice. Regardless of who won the game, all contestants received a prize choice according to their final scores (1-100, 101-300, over 300), and (in later episodes), a contestant who finished with 500 or more chips won a car. The prizes were chosen via the slot machine game board.
In the Bonus Dice game, the winning contestant rolled a pair of dice with dollar amounts ranging from $50 to $200 on them. Whatever the total amount landed on the dice became his/hers and added to his/her score. However, each die had one spade, and rolling a spade lost all the money from this game, which was why the winning contestant always had the option to stop and take the money after each spadeless roll. If the winning contestant could reach $1,000 or more, (not only did that contestant get to keep the cash during Hastings tenure, but) he/she (also) won a bonus prize.
Ed Fishman & Randall Freer
Tropicana Hotel, Las Vegas, NV (First Season)
The Burbank Studios, Burbank, CA (Rest of Run)
A board game called Place Your Bets! (with a subtitle of "The home version of TV's exciting Dealer's Choice") was released in 1974 by Gamut of Games, which later produced an adaptation of The Diamond Head Game. The reason Place Your Bets! was used was because Parker Brothers had released a board game called Dealer's Choice, which involved used car dealerships, in 1972.
Of note, the box cover has many pictures of the show, including Jack Clark standing next to the original Wheel of Chance (which is also present in the game proper).
Initially, the show was taped at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Around January 1975, taping moved to The Burbank Studios in California.
During the closing credits, the host would give audience members the chance to win money by playing a high-low card game similar to the one described above.
Unlike most syndicated shows, which normally air in the Prime Time Access slots, most stations aired Dealer's Choice in the daytime slots; very few stations aired it in the early evening slots.
A full episode from 1974 (Liz/Dick/Linda, begins during Wheel of Chance)